Youth and Adolescents

MEASURE Evaluation is working on evaluations and assessments of youth-oriented HIV programs, with the objective to identify proven and promising practices and make them available to the global community.

Youth and adolescents (ages 10–24) bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infection, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. If not addressed, this situation will curtail or stall global goals for combatting HIV/AIDS. Evidence of what works to attract and retain youth in preventative care, testing and treatment is sorely needed to help in design and implementation of effective programs.

MEASURE Evaluation, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), is working on evaluations and assessments of youth-oriented HIV programs, with the objective to identify proven and promising practices and make them available to the global community.

Girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with numerous private donors, PEPFAR launched its DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) program in 2015. This initiative is designed to reduce HIV incidence in adolescent girls and young women in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. DREAMS delivers a core package of evidence-based HIV prevention interventions to benefit girls and young women who are HIV-negative but who live in regions of high HIV prevalence in the 10 target countries. MEASURE Evaluation is conducting research to inform the design of DREAMS programming and the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of DREAMS programs in Swaziland, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Other work, in South Africa, is evaluating the impact of a of scripted lesson plans of the sexuality and HIV prevention education portion of a Life Orientation curriculum on the incidence of herpes simplex virus 2 and prevalence of pregnancy among students in grades 8, 9, and 10, The study is also examining secondary outcomes of school retention, knowledge, attitudes, and risk behaviors of male and female students. MEASURE Evaluation is conducting the impact evaluation of the pilot program before the Department of Basic Education rolls it out nationally.

MEASURE Evaluation conducted a review of many youth HIV programs and has documented seven best practices, four promising practices, and two emerging practices to engage youth in HIV awareness, prevention, and treatment (see links below). Our work in these areas has confirmed several ways to attract youth to activities, which can offer guidance for others:  

  • Program design should include youth.
  • Services should be offered at convenient times for youth and in staffed centers.
  • Services and commodities such as condoms should be affordable or free.
  • Services should be linked with schools, youth clubs, and other youth-friendly venues.
  • Web-based platforms encourage youth engagement.
  • Staff should safeguard privacy and confidentiality, and peer counseling can help regarding risk reduction, safer sex, and encouraging HIV testing and adherence to antiretroviral drugs.

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